5 design things to do this week

This week, you can: get inspired by the 4th Street Bridge; admire an architect's stunning travel photos; experience contemporary art in an airplane hangar; immerse yourself in 1930s architecture, film and fashion; and see what's at the cutting edge of ceramic arts.


1) “Positively 4th Street: An Encounter with the Los Angeles Viaduct” at Cal Poly Pomona

Bridges can serve as connections between places, but can also themselves bridge the past and future. The 4th Street Bridge in downtown LA connects Boyle Heights and the Arts District, the single family homes of the east side with the soaring towers of the west, and the city’s industrial past with its exciting but uncertain future. It also stands over a gritty Los Angeles River that is being greened and gentrified simultaneously.

This group show at Cal Poly Pomona’s Huntley Gallery brings together writing by LA historian DJ Waldie and drawings and paintings by Roderick Smith and Richard Willson to address the meaning of the 4th Street viaduct as a cultural artifact. Here’s a quote from Waldie’s beautiful text:

“Recovery of the commonplace is sensuous: the sight, sound and touch of things that might be the prelude to an embrace or a blow, that might make us cringe at their maker’s motivations, that might require humility – even love – instead of fury of contempt when considering the history of these things. Crossing over a bridge is risky.”

When: Saturday, Jan. 27, 3 – 6 pm

Where: Cal Poly Pomona’s Don B. Huntley Gallery, 3801 W Temple Ave, Pomona, CA 91768

Tickets: Free and open to the public. More information here.

With a love for simplicity of form, John Pawson gathers inspiration for his architecture with images he captures from around the world.

2) John Pawson book signing at Hennessey + Ingalls

With projects ranging from a Cistercian monastery in Bohemia to the new Design Museum in London, John Pawson has garnered a reputation for ascetic, and mostly white, modernism.  Yet it is through his photography from his travels, surprisingly infused with color, where he draws much of his architectural inspiration. His new book, “Spectrum” (Phaidon Press, 2017), is a collection of 320 images exploring color, pattern, texture, form and spatial arrangement, drawn from a wide variety of locations. Pawson shot all the images with a digital camera or iPhone (see some of those images here).

When:  Thursday, Jan. 25, 6 – 8 pm

Where:  Hennessey + Ingalls, 300 S Santa Fe Ave M, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Tickets:  Free and open to the public.  RSVP here.

Mariel Capanna, “Little Stone, Open Home”, 2017, Fresco, 8′ x 11′ x 22′, courtesy of the artist and Good Weather.

3) Art Los Angeles Contemporary

Now in its ninth year, Art Los Angeles Contemporary comes back to the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica with over 60 exhibitors from galleries around the world.  The show will also bring back its Freeways section to introduce new artists and galleries (less than four years old) to the Los Angeles art community, offering a voice to new projects across emerging and established art centers throughout the world.  There will also be talks and presentations including Jesse Fleming’s “Sci-fi-techno ecstatic voyage” and a curators’ discussion about the upcoming Desert X art show.

When:  Opening night gala Thursday, Jan. 25, 7 – 9 pm.  Exhibition runs through Sunday, Jan. 28.

Where:  Barker Hangar,  3021 Airport Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Tickets:  Gala $60.  Show $30+. You can get tickets and more information about the fair, here.

Inside Bullocks Wilshire, 1937. (Photo couretesy of California State Library)

4) Bullock’s Wilshire History Presentation + The Women (1939)

The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles and American Cinematheque have joined forces to host an event that celebrates the fashion, film and interior design of the 20s and 30s. Margaret Leslie Davis, author of the new book, “Bullock’s Wilshire,” will recount the history of the storied retailer. It was housed in a 1928 Art Deco gem designed by Parkinson and Parkinson, and clothed the likes of Mae West, Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich.

Following the presentation will be a screening of the classic film The Women (1939), directed by George Cukor (A Star is Born, My Fair Lady) and starring Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Paulette Goddard and Joan Fontaine. The film, about women with little on their minds except men and fashion, features a 6-minute technicolor fashion sequence and wardrobe design by Adrian.

In the spirit of the period, the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles’ Fashion Committee will showcase some authentic Adrian fashions from a private collection, in a brief presentation prior to the screening of the film. Also present at the event will be Gregory Weir-Quito, fashion illustrator whose clients included Bullocks Wilshire (now the Law Library for Southwestern School of Law); he will show illustrations from his work in the late 80s and early 90s.

When:  Sunday, Jan. 28, 2 – 5 pm

Where: Egyptian Theater, 6712 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Tickets: General Admission $12.  American Cinematheque members $8.  You can get tickets here.

Flower Tree, by Matt Wedel

5) “Melting Point: Movements in Contemporary Clay” at CAFAM

The Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) launches Melting Point: Movements in Contemporary Clay, the first of a planned series of biennials exploring contemporary clay practices. The exhibition is organized around three major contemporary themes: “anti-disciplinary approaches, ephemerality, and sociopolitical interpretations.” There are 22 artists in the show, some of whom have moved from functional design work to fine art ceramics. Artists include L.A.-based Ben MedanskyKahlil Robert Irving (St. Louis), whose work has been informed by the Ferguson uprisings; mid-career artists such as Julia Haft-Candell (Los Angeles), Kristen Morgin (Los Angeles); and Walter McConnell (New York), who leads Alfred University’s prominent ceramics program.

When: January 28 – May 6, 2018; opening reception takes place Saturday, Jan. 27, 6 – 9 pm

Where: Craft and Folk Art Museum, 5814 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Tickets: Free for CAFAM members and the general public on Sundays; $7 for adults; $5 for students, teachers, and seniors.